The Endless Forest is the sixth and last installment of The Wilderness Series by Sara Donati. It’s set in 1823 in Paradise, New York. I haven’t read the rest of the series.
This series is interesting because it chronicles the lives of many types of people, from freed slaves, to Mohawk, to pioneers and includes mixed-race families. It’s a rich backdrop for a rich series.
In The Endless Forest it seemed as if the author wanted to satisfy her readers desires by wrapping up the lives of characters of the other books. That might be wonderful if I were already familiar with these other characters and cared about them.
For me, there were too many characters and plot lines making the book feel scattered and unfocused. However, it’s obvious Ms. Donati is a talented writer. Though her prose is delightful and her attention to historical detail stellar, I would not recommend reading this book first. I’ve a feeling it’s more satisfying if you already know the characters.
The first book in the series is Into the Wilderness, start there.
With a master storyteller’s skill and a historian’s precision, Sara Donati has delighted readers and critics alike with her bestselling novels of the nineteenth-century New York frontier. Now she brings us The Endless Forest, set in the remote village of Paradise, where the Bonner family that readers first met in Into the Wilderness make their home.
The spring of 1824 is a challenging one for the inhabitants of Paradise N.Y. when a flood devastates the village. But for Nathaniel and Elizabeth Bonner, it’s also a time of reunion as their children return from far-off places: Lily and her husband from Italy, and Martha Kirby, the Bonners’ ward, from Manhattan. Although Lily is nursing her own grief, it is Martha, fleeing a crushing humiliation, who brings with her trouble that will reverberate in all their lives.
In the sudden peace that follows the storm, as families struggle to rebuild, childhood friends Martha and Daniel, Lily’s twin brother, suddenly begin to see each other in a new light. But their growing bond is threatened when Martha’s mother arrives back in Paradise a decade after abandoning her daughter. Jemima Southern is a dangerous schemer who has destroyed more than one family, and her anger touches everyone, as do her secrets. Has Jemima come to claim her daughter–or does she have something else in mind? Whatever happens, Martha and Daniel and all the Bonners must stand united against the threats to both heart and home.
Painful secrets and hidden sorrows, joy, heartbreak, and passion follow the Bonners through a season of change and renewal. A rich, passionate, multilayeredportrayal of family strength and endurance in a fascinating place and time, The Endless Forest will be remembered long after the last page is turned.